56 Teachers Receive National Board Certification

December 20, 2004
Fifty-six Montgomery County Public Schools teachers are among the 153 Maryland teachers who have achieved certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) this year. This brings the total of nationally certified teachers in MCPS to 177.

National board certification was created so that teachers, like professionals in other fields, can achieve distinction by demonstrating through a demanding performance assessment that they meet high standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

Teachers achieve national board certification after completing a rigorous yearlong series of performance-based assessments that include teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes, and thorough analyses of candidates' classroom teaching and student learning. Candidates also complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge and their understanding of how to teach those subjects to their students.

Candidates report that they often invest between 200 and 400 hours of work in their journey toward NBPTS certification. Research shows that participation in the certification process equips teachers to create stronger curricula, improves their abilities to evaluate student learning, and helps them develop a framework to use state content standards to improve teaching.

"Measuring my own practice against the rigorous standards of the NBPTS has resulted in my teaching becoming more focused, reflective and confident," said Jolynn Tarwater, a Fallsmead Elementary School teacher who was in the first group of Maryland teachers certified in 1998. "I can focus more precisely on what students should know and be able to do, and I am better able to reflect on how my teaching meets the needs of my students."

Becoming board certified also has helped her become more aware of issues that affect teaching and learning and given her confidence to speak out for teacher leadership issues, Tarwater said. She now works to support candidates in order to increase the number of board-certified teachers.

"The certification process validates what you are doing well and guides you, through your own experience, in how to improve," said Joanne McKernon, Clearspring Elementary School teacher and MCPS Teacher of the Year in 2000. McKernon, who became certified in 1999, said that the process of learning what she was doing and why has improved her teaching. "To this day, I question myself constantly, asking, What is it that my students need to come away with? What is it that I really want them to be able to do when we are finished with this? Did I teach them what they needed to know? How can I go back, what can I do differently to make it better?" In addition, the certification process shows teachers how to mindfully view students as individuals as part of planning and implementation, she said.

Pursuing certification is voluntary and open to all teachers who have a baccalaureate degree and three years' classroom experience in either a public or private school. Nationally certified MCPS teachers receive an additional $2,000 in salary each year for a period of 10 years. The state matches the local salary incentive with a stipend of up to $2,000 per year.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an independent, nonprofit organization, was created in 1987. A total of 498 teachers in Maryland and 40,203 teachers nationwide have attained NBPTS certification since the program's inception 17 years ago.

To learn more about NBPTS, visit the link below.

The 56 MCPS NBPTS teachers and their schools or offices are:

• Judith Artman, Sligo Middle School
• Barbara Baisley, Thomas W. Pyle Middle School
• Carolann Barbieri, Pine Crest Elementary School
• Emily Bizzell, Clearspring Elementary School
• Margarita Bohorquez, Montgomery Blair High School
• Jacqueline Bragg, Northwest High School
• Jayne Englert Burns, Pine Crest Elementary School
• Patricia Bush, Greenwood Elementary School
• Karen Cox, Sequoyah Elementary School
• David Culpepper, Damascus High School
• Michelle Deleo, Wootton High School
• Kristine Donohue, Bethesda Elementary School
• Claudia Everitt, Bel Pre Elementary School
• Dara Feldman, Garrett Park Elementary School
• Catharine Ferguson, Richard Montgomery High School
• Michelle Fitz, Carderock Springs Elementary School
• Colleen Foster, Neelsville Middle School
• David Fry, Waters Landing Elementary School
• Cynthia Fredrickson, Sherwood Elementary School
• Theisen Healey, Walter Johnson High School
• Ronda Herwood, Fallsmead Elementary School
• Lesley Johnson, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
• Amy Kanapesky, Carderock Springs Elementary School
• Sabrina Keenan, Montgomery Blair High School
• Heather Kelly, Watkins Mill Elementary School
• Kasandra Kent, Takoma Park Elementary School
• Rachelle Klein, Clearspring Elementary School
• Alice Lassiter, Rosemont Elementary School
• Alison Leary, Clearspring Elementary School
• Sharon Lundahl, Herbert Hoover Middle School
• Amy Malone, Richard Montgomery High School
• Daria Malone, Maryvale Elementary School
• Jessica Matulevich, Damascus High School
• Jamie Mikeska, Forest Knolls Elementary School
• Rosemary Millican, Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs
• Susan Montgomery, Damascus Elementary School
• Joan Mory, Lois P. Rockwell Elementary School
• Deborah Newman, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
• Lisa Norris, School Library Media Programs
• Joan O'Brien, Chevy Chase Elementary School
• Wanda O'Brien, Thomas W. Pyle Middle School
• Kimberly Oliver, Broad Acres Elementary School
• Renee Patrick, Forest Knolls Elementary School
• Denise Ramos-Roman, James Hubert Blake High School
• Denise Renfrew, Highland View Elementary School
• Pamela Rowe, James Hubert Blake High School
• James Schneider, Germantown Elementary School
• Deborah Sockol, Beall Elementary School
• Karen Spezio, Highland View Elementary School
• Karen Shilling, Montgomery Blair High School
• Danielle Sultan, Pine Crest Elementary School
• Patricia Touchette, Beall Elementary School
• Ramona Howard Turner, Watkins Mill Elementary School
• Teresa Walton, Capt. James Daly Elementary School
• Laura Woodside, Washington Grove Elementary School
• Georgia Wright, Sherwood Elementary School

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